It’s the Big Ten’s Fault Their Best Team’s Season Is on the Brink

August 11th. That was the date the Big Ten announced that they were canceling football season in the Fall. It had been less than a week since the conference had released their schedule which they bragged contained guardrails for game cancellations, and it occurred days before news of a breakthrough in rapid testing. Except for the barrage of leaks to the college football media that the decision to cancel the season and try to play in the Spring was imminent, the whole process was unconscionably disorganized.

Fast forward to this weekend and we have an Ohio State program that is a top four team in the country, but could very well be ineligible for the Big Ten championship game. They missed one game because Maryland had COVID-19 issues and now the virus is afflicting the Buckeyes and they had to cancel their game against Illinois.

Big Ten rules for this weird season stipulate that a team must play six games to qualify for the conference title game. Ohio State has games left against Michigan State and Michigan, and would not be able to miss either of them — unless the Big Ten East averages less than six games per team, which at this juncture appears unlikely.

It’s going to be a tall order for Ohio State to field a team next week against Michigan State. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but the two previous Big Ten teams that had outbreaks — Wisconsin and Maryland — each had to miss two weeks on account of them.

The Big Ten canceled their season too early and resumed it too late. This isn’t revisionist history. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 made the prudent decisions to postpone their seasons for three weeks apiece and build in two bye weeks per team to handle inevitable missed games. The Big Ten blew it.

Conference leadership could very well find themselves in a position where they either have to change their own rules to accommodate Ohio State, or field Indiana out of the Big Ten East when Ohio State already beat them head-to-head. Indiana-Northwestern going head-to-head on TV with the SEC title game on a Saturday night would be one thing if it were legitimately merited, but the Big Ten should really change their rules to accommodate Ohio State if they have to miss one of their next two games.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. If you look at the playoff committee rules; Ohio State has nothing to worry about:

    Guaranteed entrance: Notre Dame if winning record. Alabama if 2 losses or less. Ohio State, or undefeated Big Ten Champion if not Ohio State. SEC Champion if not Alabama, if Alabama then undefeated ACC Champion or undefeated Big 12 Champion. If all conferences have a 2 loss champion an undefeated Pac 12 Champion will be considered. Under no circumstances will any other conference or independent be considered in the final “vote”.

  2. It’s also the fault of irresponsible and cowardly “adults” who put all their faith in PCR tests that are notorious for providing a large number of false positives. We really have no idea how many of these players and coaches actually have Covid.

  3. Ridiculous. TWO cancellations should be grounds for dismissal. It’s complete garbage that they can play so many less games than SEC/ACC teams and get in. Unconscionable. Either put in A&M or Cincy/BYU. The playoff isn’t JUST about who the best team is; it’s also who deserves to be in as well. Nobody questions OSU could beat anybody in the country. They certainly can do so if they have 4 less games of wear and tear. Unfair bullshit.

  4. If it starts looking like the Big Ten, CFP etc start colluding to get a 5-0 OSU team in the Big10 title game or CFP Alabama and Norte Dame shouldn’t play another game. The only risk they have is losing a player or a game. If OSU can get in at 5-0 or 6-0. Why shouldn’t Bama at 8-0 and ND at 9-0 already be in? Both have beat 2 teams better than Ohio State will play. Screw the Big10.

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